After Prežihov Voranc published his first short stories in the mid-1920s, which were unsuccessful, he had not written anything for ten years and had only devoted himself to his political activities. It was not until the mid-1930s that he began to write again. A number of stories emerged which, in the tone of his Carinthian homeland, primarily addressed the struggle of ordinary people for their livelihoods. They depict elementary natural people, their characters and living conditions, and are the result of a feeling of pity for them and indignation.
The stories were written between 1935 and 1939 and initially appeared individually in the socialist magazine Sodobnost .
The volume consists of eight stories.
Boj na požiralniku (The fight with the swamp field or The fight with the newt). The first story in the collection describes the Dihur family's struggle with their land, where swamp holes repeatedly emerge and spoil the arable land. The hopeless struggle, which the members of the family cannot avoid and which they lead to the point of self-destruction, forces them to be ruthless towards their own children.
Jirs in Bavh (Jirs and Bavh). Oplaz tells a story from his childhood. For his parents, who were tenants, livestock was more important than agriculture. So oxen were bought again and again, painstakingly trained for work in the field, and when they had grown they were sold. The money raised was used to buy smaller, cheaper oxen. Especially for the boy, an emotional bond with the animals developed again and again, and training for field work, which was associated with many blows, hurt the soul. He was particularly fond of two animals, Jirs and Bavh. But one day it was said that they too had to be sold. The father went with the son and the animals to the market, where they met other farmers. But at the market there was nothing except expenses, no one bought for the amount hoped for and needed by the father, which would have included the boy buying clothes for him. On the way home, the father has to sell for a lower amount and still be satisfied that he has received anything at all. This experience arouses a special awareness of injustice in the child. Now it turns out that Oplaz is telling this his own story in prison to his fellow prisoners. He had become a manslayer when they tried to seize his cattle. His childhood awareness of injustice had driven him to resist it.
Vodnjak (The Well). The bonnet of the Borovnik was on a slope. There was only water far below that had to be laboriously carried from there to the house. It had been like this for generations and it was a blemish on the whole property. Everyone knew who wanted to marry there, had a life of dragging water ahead of them in every season. When the father of the current Borovnik died, he suddenly got up from his bed and announced like a prophet that the son should look for water at a certain point on the property. Then he died. The son let it go for a long time, but one day he really began to dig at the specified spot. Nobody thought this was realistic, the place seemed particularly dry. But Borovnik carried on day after day, week after week. The neighbors were already mocking him and he was more than 20 meters deep. Suddenly the call came from below: “Water!” The woman let the bucket down and it was really full. You could hear rustling and splashing, but no more sign of life from the man. The summoned neighbor could only pull the drowned Borovnik out of the well, he was dead.
Ljubezen na odoru (Love on the bare slope or love on the edge). The Radman's wife was far younger than her husband. She had seven children, the last three looking strangely different from the first four. The neighbors knew why, but nobody cared. “If the Radman doesn't mind, we don't care,” they said. When the Radmansche was busy doing hard work in the field, she met Voruh, the wood cutter. He helped her and a relationship between the two developed. The woman had her eighth child, it was from Voruh. At an agreed knock, the lovers met outdoors. When Radman found out that his wife was dating, she left the house with the youngest child and moved in with Voruh. She refused to take the other children with her, saying that she had worked hard enough over the years. Now Radman should take care of the children. But over time, the social pressure from neighbors and local residents increased. The strength of the Radmanschen was admired, but the fact that she lived so openly with her lover without getting married caused unrest. So the two of them retired to a hut in the forest, where they busily chopped wood together. After a long rainy season, which made everything slippery and damp, the children turned up at their mother's in the forest. She sewed their clothes and the children helped with the work. Then the misfortune happened that the children were working on a tree trunk, which began to move due to the moisture, rushed down the slope and killed Voruh, who was employed there.
Pot na klop (The way to the stove bench). The well-known drunkard Kaspar, who could not speak two words without cursing, appeared on the way to the well-known farmer Lenz. He was startled and wondered how he could get rid of the annoying guest quickly. But Kaspar did not come to ask for a ration of home-distilled schnapps, but to die. He felt that things were coming to an end and wanted to die on Lenz's stove bench. The farmer felt more and more pity for old Kaspar, looked after him as best he could and in the end also got him to end his life with the sacrament of death.
Prvi spopad (The First Clash or The Duel on the Threshing Floor). The short story tells of the poor Čarnoglav family, who still had to thrash by hand. One day my father came home with an old, used threshing machine. At last one was mechanized and worked out how much faster and how much more work one could do. But the first time the device was put into operation, it turned out to be a difficult battle with the monster, in which the whole family including the children had to participate and to which they also sacrificed their health.
Odpustki (The Walk of Penance or Late Penance). The old wood cutter Žvap had to stop his work, he had become too old, weak and slow. When this became known, the neighbors surprisingly came one after the other and brought the now penniless old man and his wife essential things into the house, remembering old stories and injustices for which they now asked for forgiveness. When the old man finally died, he had confessed to the pastor some things from the past.
Samorastniki (wild growths). This is the cruel story of the maid Meta, who worked for the rich farmer Karničnik. When she was expecting a child from her son and heir Ožbej, according to an old custom, the farmer judged her. Her tow was burned smoldering on her bare hands, which was particularly painful. Then the women of the court fell on her and almost beat her to death, tying her skirts over her head to shame and beating her on the bare abdomen. Meta had her child and went far away to work where no one knew her. After a while she had a second child from Ožbej. The farmer, who feared the children's claims to his farm, dragged Meta to the court of the sovereign, where she refused to renounce her lover and was therefore put under torture. But the connection to Ožbej remains secretly. Gradually, public opinion began to turn. Meta was initially doused with mockery and derision, but the hard-working maid who was true to her love was now to be respected and admired. The couple ended up having nine children without being allowed to marry, and Meta raised all of them alone with superhuman strength. The weak Ožbej had given in to the drink and eventually perished. When Karničnik and his descendants had long since lost their proud farm, the wild offspring of Metas multiplied generation after generation and populated the whole area.
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- Samorastniki. Maribor: Obzorja, 1969
- Izbrano delo 3. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, 1969
- Koroški samorastniki. Ljubljana: Delavska enotnost, 1976
- Lovro Kuhar - Prežihov Voranc. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, 1979
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- The fight with the swamp field. Translation: Franz Hille. in: Slovenian Novellas. Adolf Luser Verlag, Vienna and Leipzig 1940.
- Wild growths. Samorastniki. Translation: Janko Messner . Bertl Petrei publishing house , Maria Rain 1963.
- Wild growths. Translation: Janko Messner. Drava, Klagenfurt 1983.
- The self-sown. Bilingual edition of a Slovene classic. New Orleans: Prometej, 1983
- Landyši. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel`stvo hudožestvennoj literatury, 1959
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- Samonikli i druge pripovetke. Belgrade: Rad, 1964
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- Vadócok. Novi Sad: Forum, 1960
- Samorastniki. Yugoslavia, 1963 (Director: I. Pretnar)
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- Marija Pirjevec: Ženska v Vorančevih Samorastniki. Primorska srečanja 19, 173/174, 1995
- Katja Mihurko Poniž: Materinstvo kot umetnostni motiv in njegova upodolitev v povesti Samorastniki. Jezik in slovstvo 46, 1/2 2000/2001